The Two Faces of January

From Patricia Highsmith the author of The Talented Mr Ripley comes The Two Faces of January. But will this make as much of an impact?

Set in 1962, Rydal (Oscar Isaac) works as a tour guide in Athens where he meets an American couple Chester  and Colette McFarland (Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst). But the McFarland’s have a secret which catches up to them in Greece, and Rydal ends up helping them evade the police while falling for the beautiful Colette.

The main feeling I got while watching this film is that it’s not suited to the big screen. If I was watching it on a lazy Sunday afternoon on my tv I’d probably be more forgiving of its flaws. But while it rambles along well enough to start with it fails to provide any worthy twists or turns to really capture an audience’s attention.

Mortensen is the big draw here as the manipulative Chester. His desperate attempts to avoid capture are great to watch. Less so is Dunst as Colette, mainly due to the fact her role is underwritten. Her character is just there for the two male leads to argue over and she doesn’t have any chemistry with either of them. Isaac is fine as the slimy Rydal. Although he is not particularly likeable or sympathetic he is interesting to watch. A man of scrupulous morals that fleeces tourists for a living but is out of his depth when dealing with Chester.

The scenery is beautiful, the film is a great advert for the Greek Tourist Board. The story goes along nicely enough but it lacks any real menace to leave you on the edge of your seat. It’s ok for an afternoon thriller but your money is better spent elsewhere.

Rating 2.5/5 – Middle of the road thriller that unfortunately fails to thrill like it should

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “The Two Faces of January

  1. This is the first review I have seen that has been more so on the negative side of town, I’ve not seen any trailers for this film but I was interested in checking in out because I LOVE Viggo and Oscar Isaac is an up and comer that I’ve been following since Inside Llywen Davis. It is a shame to hear that it wasn’t all that fancy because I was actually looking forward to it.

    • It does have some good points in that it’s well acted and looks nice but I felt like the story was lacking a bit, I wanted more excitement. I think I would have preferred it on dvd rather than going to the cinema. If you do get round to seeing it let me know what you think.

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